Can you Install Solar Panels on a Tile Roof?

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Whether you’re purchasing a home with a tile roof, or you’re about to have one installed, you’ve already made a sound investment in your home. Tile roofing is a beautiful way to enhance the appearance of your home while providing long-lasting protection against harsh weather and fire. While the cost of installation can be expensive, you can expect your tile roof to last 50-75 years. The durability of tile will save you money on re-roofing in the long run. It will also decrease the amount of roof waste that goes to landfills each year—a staggering 11 million tons annually.  Best of all, there’s a way to increase your home’s value while making it even more energy efficient—by adding solar panels.

Solar panels on a home.

What Benefit do Solar Panels Add to Your Home?

Having a tile roof already helps make your home more energy efficient. This is because roofing tile is installed individually, instead of in sheets (like tin) or in an overlapping style (like shingles). As a result, it leaves space around each tile to allow for ventilation, and it creates a thermal barrier for heat transfer into your home. This barrier makes heating or cooling your home more efficient, which saves you money on your utility bills each month.

But your can further defray your energy costs—even potentially eliminating them—by adding solar panels to your tile roof. Beyond the initial cost of purchase and installation, you’ll only be paying for electricity when your monthly energy consumption exceeds what can be captured by your solar panels. With the appropriate size system for your home, energy consumption, and climate, you can expect serious savings.

In addition to saving you money on your monthly utility bills, solar panels will increase your home’s value, while decreasing your overall carbon footprint. And depending on where you live, your local utility company may even purchase excess energy collected by your panels, which helps you to make money!

Is it Possible to Install Solar Panels on a Tile Roof?

With the popularity of tile roofing in some of the sunniest areas of the U.S. (Florida and Arizona, for example), solar installers have had to develop installation strategies and best practices to help their customers take full advantage of the benefits of solar panels. On a more traditional asphalt roof, installers would simply drill into the roof to attach mounting brackets to the roof studs. The area around the mounting bracket would then be sealed to prevent leaks.

You don’t want to drill directly into it for fear of damaging it—especially if you have specialty or antique tile. Drilling risks cracking the tile, which will only increase the overall installation costs of your solar panels. Instead, it’s best to let your installer remove tiles, by drilling into your roof to attach mounting brackets to the studs and seal the area—just like they would do for any other style of roof. You can also replace the tile with a tile replacement mount, which will provide superior protection against leaks while preserving the look of your roof.

Is It Possible to Install Solar Panels on Your Tile Roof Yourself?

Yes, but the potential for serious, costly damage is very high. While your tile roof is very durable against the elements, it is not weight-proof. By walking on your roof, or using a drill bit that creates too much vibration, you can easily create cracks that are costly to fix and compromise the integrity of your roof.

Couple installing solar panels

Are there Other Solar Options Besides Rooftop Panels?

Yes, you could consider investing in ground-mounted solar panels. These are effective at collecting energy from the sun, although they’re not always preferred for a variety of reasons. First, they require a considerable amount of ground space, which means you might have to sacrifice other home features, like a pool or a screened-in patio that will bring you enjoyment and increase your home’s value to make room for the panels. Additionally, if you are part of a homeowner’s association, there may be restrictions about placing solar panels in your yard because of how they impact the look of the neighborhood. Finally, ground-mounted panels take more time to install (even accounting for tile removal) than rooftop installation because they require underground wiring and digging to stabilize panels. This additional time can increase your overall installation cost.

Whether you decide that roof-mounted panels or a ground-mounted setup is best for your home, one thing is for certain. You’ll be lowering your monthly energy bills, increasing your home’s value, and reducing your carbon footprint, for a very foward-thinking and forward-reaching investment indeed.